Recently I had coffee with a highly regarded local REALTOR who told me she often sees an immediate negative reaction from sellers when she uses the word, "staging". I've seen it too, from both sellers and REALTORs. Maybe a seller's negative response is due to the false impression of staging they've gotten from television, or the fear that staging is expensive, or that a stager will come into the house and find fault. Perhaps some REALTORs are averse to staging because they fear offending their clients, or because they think clients expect them to provide this service, and they don't want to appear lacking. Whatever the reasons, there's no question that staging has gotten a bad rap, despite a 45 year track record of success in all market conditions.
Because she needs seller cooperation in preparing the house for sale, my REALTOR friend has experimented with using the term, "detailing", instead of staging. Everyone understands that when you sell your car you need to clean it inside and out, and make every detail shine. Selling a house is no different, and she's found that when she describes the preparation as "detailing", there are fewer objections.
Whether it's called staging or detailing, the process of creating cosmetic appeal is more important than ever because of the crucial role of internet photos in marketing a house. To sell successfully, it's essential to have attractive, compelling pictures that make prospective buyers want to visit in person.
Staging may not be well understood, or have the respect and appreciation it deserves, but I'm still proud to be a professional stager, though I may take a page from my friend's book and use the word "detailing" now and then when I encounter resistance.